The Checkers are halfway through the annual California road trip and looking to bounce back after a tough start that has pushed their road struggles to near historic levels.

The team will swing back in an identical slate to last week, kicking off in Stockton on Wednesday before back-to-back weekend contests in Bakersfield and Ontario.

Week in Review

Team Statistics

  • Overall record
  • Home record
  • Road record
  • Last week's record
  • Last 10 games
  • Division Standings
  • Conference Standings
  • League Standings

Stockton 4, Checkers 2

The Checkers kicked off their West Coast swing with a tough loss in Stockton. The Heat came out firing, building a 3-0 lead through the first 40 minutes of play. Lucas Wallmark got the Checkers on the board and looked to spark a rally by the visitors, but the Heat answered right back to push their lead once again to three goals. That would be enough for Stockton to coast to a victory, as Josh Wesley’s first AHL goal in the final minute of play would be all the Checkers could muster. Full recap

Bakersfield 3, Checkers 0

The road trip rolled on to Bakersfield two nights later, but the Checkers couldn’t turn things around. Condors captain Ryan Hamilton singlehandedly pushed his squad to a 2-0 lead early on in the second period before another defensive lapse allowed the home team to tack on one more. The Checkers’ offense had no answer to the Condors’ attack, and Laurent Brossoit blanked them for the remainder of regulation, clinching his first shutout of the season. Daniel Altshuller, in his first start of the season, made 26 saves on the night. Full recap

Ontario 3, Checkers 2

Taking on their third opponent in as many games, the Checkers were finally able to put up a fight offensively in Ontario. Former Checker T.J. Hensick put the Reign on top early, then Jonny Brodzinski doubled that lead in the middle frame, but the Checkers roared back to knot the game thanks to tallies from newcomer Kris Newbury and Levko Koper. It looked like the game would be proceeding to overtime, but another former Checker had other ideas, as former captain Brett Sutter lit the lamp with just 33 seconds left in regulation to secure the win for Ontario and send the Checkers’ road winless streak to seven. Full recap

Three Stars Of The Week


3rd Star

Lucas Wallmark- 1g, 0a

2nd Star

Josh Wesley- 1g, 0a

1st Star

Erik Karlsson- 0g, 2a



This West Coast swing hasn’t produced much of anything from the Checkers’ offense, as they continue to be starved for goals as of late.

Charlotte’s stretch of scoring two or fewer goals has reached four straight games and nine of the last 11, none of which resulted in a win. In fact, the Checkers are now 1-11-1 in games where they failed to score more than two goals. On the flip side, they are a perfect 8-0-0 when breaking past that threshold.

While much of the lack of scoring can be attributed to the loss of several of the team’s high-end scorers being pulled to the NHL, the offensive talent remaining on the roster has hit a cold streak.

After ranking third on the team in scoring as a rookie last season, Sergey Tolchinsky has just seven points through the first 21 games, including one goal and no assists in his last 11 contests. The silver lining for the forward is that he sat at the same seven-point total through the first 21 games of last season before pouring it on to finish with 36, though the Checkers will need him to find that second gear quickly to help spur the offense overall. Similarly, Andrew Miller, who is a near point-per-game player in the AHL over his career, has had a slow start with seven points through 16 games played.

Production from the back end has been a point of emphasis from the coaching staff since day one, and one that continues to search for a spark. A year removed from ranking second on the team overall with 42 points, Trevor Carrick has recorded just four this season with no goals, while Jake Chelios has the same four-point total after a career year offensively a season ago. While their defensive play has been strong for stretches this season, the Checkers would benefit greatly from getting some of that firepower going once again.


As the Checkers search for answers on offense, the pieces that they are missing throughout the roster have not made life easy.

Thus far, the Checkers have seen Derek Ryan and Brock McGinn, who still rank as the second and fifth leading scorers on the team despite only playing nine games, head to the NHL, with Matt Tennyson, who still holds a share of the team’s scoring lead among defensemen, Michael Leighton, who has earned six of the team’s nine wins this season, and Phil Di Giuseppe joining them.

Aside from recalls, the Checkers have had terrible luck with regards to injuries this season. On top of Brendan Woods, who was lost six games in and continues to have a longer term recovery timeframe, Charlotte has seen Connor Brickley, Patrick Dwyer, Haydn Fleury and Trevor Carrick sidelined over the last few weeks. While their recovery times are varying, none of the four made the current trip to California.

All in all, nine of the 20 players who suited up for the Checkers on opening night in Texas on Oct. 14 were absent from the team’s lineup this past Saturday in Ontario.


With Saturday’s 3-2 loss in Ontario, the Checkers are now winless in each of their last seven road contests, including five consecutive losses. Both of those marks are one shy of matching franchise records, which were each set over the same stretch of the 2014-15 season.

The Checkers’ current road winless streak stands as both the longest active and the longest overall this season in the AHL.

As previously mentioned, the Checkers’ offense has had its fair share of struggles this season, sitting fifth from the bottom of the AHL with a goals per game average of 2.52. Even so, they have been slightly worse on the road, where they are averaging 2.3 goals per game as compared to 2.88 at home.

Charlotte’s nine losses on the road are the most in the AHL and its 0.269 winning percentage is the second-worst in the league, only ahead of Central Division foe Rockford.


This year’s California road trip has produced significantly different results than a year ago.

Last season, the Checkers rolled through California, taking 11 of a possible 12 points on the trip, whereas this season the Checkers have dropped each of their first three contests in the state.

Including sweeps at the hands of the Stars and Rampage, the Checkers are now 0-7-0 against the Pacific Division this season, a year after going 10-7-3 against the league’s newest division.


With no luck on either of their two man advantages Saturday in Ontario, the Checkers are now 0-for-their last 24 power plays. Their last power-play goal came on Nov. 22.

Furthermore, the Checkers have scored a power-play goal in just two of their last 11 games, a 2-for-40 stretch. That skid has dipped the team’s overall power-play percentage to 10.3%, worst in the AHL.

On the other side, the penalty kill looked to be turning things around with back-to-back games without allowing a power-play goal before Ontario was able to cash in on their lone opportunity Saturday. The Checkers have now allowed nine power-play goals on their last 27 shorthanded situations over the past seven games.


  • Kyle Hagel is tied for second in the league in major penalties (4)
  • Despite being currently on the Hurricanes' roster, Michael Leighton ranks third in the AHL in both goals-against average (1.66) and save percentage (.937)
  • Andrew Poturalski is tied for ninth among AHL rookies in points (14)
  • Roland McKeown ranks third among AHL rookies in shots (52)


  • Brendan Woods missed 15 games starting Nov. 2
  • Patrick Dwyer missed seven games starting Nov. 22
  • Connor Brickley missed four game starting Nov. 27
  • Haydn Fleury missed three games starting Nov. 30
  • Trevor Carrick missed three games starting Nov. 30



  • Nov. 29 - Kevin Raine recalled from Florida (ECHL)
  • Nov. 29 - Kris Newbury signed to PTO
  • Nov. 28 - Josh Wesley recalled from Florida (ECHL)


  • Nov. 28 - Phil Di Giuseppe recalled by Carolina (NHL)

Coming Up

December 7 at 10 p.m. - Checkers at Stockton

December 9 at 10 p.m. - Checkers at Bakersfield

December 10 at 9 p.m. - Checkers at Ontario

By the Numbers

Power play 10.3% 30th 28th
Penalty kill 80.7% 20th 19th
Goals per game 2.52 25th 21st
Shots per game 31.29 t-7th 5th
Goals allowed per game 2.76 13th t-9th
Shots allowed per game 28.33 12th 10th
Penalty minutes per game 12.19 t-9th 11th

Points Andrew Poturalski (14), Derek Ryan (13), Lucas Wallmark, Valentin Zykov (10)
Goals Valentin Zykov (6), Andrew Poturalski, Brock McGinn, Derek Ryan (5)
Assists Andrew Poturalski (9), Derek Ryan (8), Lucas Wallmark (7)
Power play goals Derek Ryan, Valentin Zykov (2)
Shorthanded goals Patrick Brown, Derek Ryan, Brock McGinn, Patrick Dwyer (1)
Game-winning goals Brock McGinn, Patrick Brown (2)
Shots on goal Trevor Carrick (55), Roland McKeown (52), Lucas Wallmark (44))
Penalty minutes Kyle Hagel (34), Trevor Carrick, Keegan Lowe (23)
Plus/minus Matt Tennyson (+7), Erik Karlsson, Andrew Poturalski (+5)
Wins Michael Leighton (6)
Goals-against average Michael Leighton (1.66)
Save percentage Michael Leighton (.937)